Canadian born actor/comic Dean Haglund was born on 29 July
1965, in Oak Bank, Manitoba, Canada. He began in stand-up
comedy, and still performs at comedy clubs across North America.
He is a member of the improv group Vancouver TheaterSports.
He is probably most well known for his nine seasons playing
Ringo Langly, one of the computer geeks known as "The
Lone Gunmen" in The X-Files. Darren
Rea caught up with him as season eight of The X-Files
was due to be released on DVD...
Rea: What was it that attracted you to your role in The
Haglund: At the time it wasn't going to be a big part. During
the first season it was a show that no one had really heard
of and the Gunmen were just going to be in one episode only.
So it seemed a nice way to do a day on a TV show you'd never
heard of and go back to live theatre, stand-up comedy and
all the things you were doing beforehand. There wasn't really
a heart wrenching decision whether to do it or not. It was
like: "Oh yes. Good. Oh, it's over. Off you go."
fact, that sentiment continued well into the third season.
If you dig out your early DVDs, you'll notice that in every
episode I'm wearing a different pair of glasses. The prop
guy just kept throwing them back in the bag, and I couldn't
remember what I'd worn in the episode before. We'd go: "Were
these them?" [Laughs].
Is it true that there were reviews around at the time that
mentioned that the Lone Gunmen were the best thing
about the The X-Files and that you probably saved it
[Laughs] There are all sorts of decisions that go into cancelling
or keeping a show on the air and it would be a little arrogant
of me to say that I personally, single handedly saved the
show from cancellation. For sure the writing and the quirkiness
was something that hadn't been seen on television before,
and that helped keep it alive.
the fact that we played computer hackers sort of came out
at the same time as the Internet fanbase really started developing
through alt.tv.x-files. This was an early newsgroup that the
writers and producers would go to get honest feedback on a
This was something that had never really happened before on
a TV show, because normally the writer calls his mum, and
his mum says: "I didn't like the girl." So they'd
take the girl out. And now here was the chance to see fan
reaction, without the fans knowing that the writers and producers
were actually there.
Does it not worry you that you've played a lot of drug users
and nerds and that there are casting directors out there that
will see you and go: "Yup! He looks like a drug user,
let's hire him."?
It would, only you're assuming I still look like that. I know
you can't see me because this is a phone interview, but in
fact, right now, I'm wearing a tie and I've cut off all of
my hair. In my latest movie, Spectres, I play a psychologist
called Doctor Halsey who saves a teenage girl. So I believe
there will be a whole new typecasting of: "Oh, we need
a psychologist who saves 16-year-olds." So, no I'm not
worried at all.
In Spectres I play a psychologist who is faced with
some phenomenal phenomena - does that make sense? I actually
play somewhat of a sceptic but have connections to some people
who work in the other realm. I'm the middle man in this movie
as opposed to the way out there one. It's a real chance for
me to play something a little bit more dramatic rather than
the weird gookie, geekie one.
was shot on HD, 24-frame and the quality is phenomenal. It's
the future of movie making. It makes the process much easier.
Before you changed your appearance, did your screen character
spill over into real life. Did you get people coming up to
you in the street and asking you to fix their computer?
Absolutely. Yes they would ask me all sorts of questions,
like how to fix a computer or make their television work,
which sadly I kinda know how to do. In fact I've invented
something to speed up your laptop without installing any hardware
or uploading any software... Now you've gone silent...
I'm waiting for the punchline.
[Laughs] No. There's no punchline. If you visit www.chillpak.com
you'll see the website for Chill Pak which is a cooling system
for very thin laptops. You put the Chill Pak in the freezer
and it has a special condensation proof sleeve around it so
that no moisture develops under your computer. It drives the
heat away from the CPU, directly through the bottom of the
laptop allowing it to run faster, preventing lockup and screen
slowdown and all that sort of stuff that you get with laptops
it has come full circle. I played the computer geek, and now
I am the geek chic of computer accessories.
Going back to your time as the on-screen computer geek? Were
you surprised that The Lone Gunmen spin-off series
didn't work as expected?
Yes, I was surprised. There are so many things that go into
why a show is successful and why it isn't. I was surprised
that was the year that everyone wanted to watch Who Wants
to be a Millionaire? five times a week. [Laughs] That
sort of stunned me. I don't think I managed to sit through
an entire episode of that thing.
It was a very bizarre time in television viewing history -
when primetime gameshows somehow took over. There was a bunch
of shows that lost it. Now and Again was a critically
acclaimed show and that was cancelled, as was Freaky Links
- which was made by The Blair Witch people. All these
shows, theoretically had they come on at any other time in
history than this gameshow phenomena, probably would have
fared much better.
that doesn't attest to the quality of the shows themselves,
but more the Zeitgeist of the time. And it was just unlucky
timing, I think.
Were there storylines and character developments which were
due to be explored which never saw the light of day because
There were all sorts of things. They ended the episode with
us being trapped in a vault and they had big plans for how
we were going to get out of there. They were alluding to,
as the Gunmen always were, that we may not always be what
we seem. That yes, we seem like these good guys fighting for
just causes and stuff, but there may be a darker side to all
of us. Like, maybe we're double agents, or something like
writers had all sorts of plans which they never got the opportunity
to explore. It's regrettable, but at the same time I'm thankful
that it lasted as long as it did.
You're also well known as a comedian. Did your act change
at all once you became well known for your X-Files role?
Because I trained with Ryan Stiles and Colin Mockery from
Whose Line is it Anyway? I now improvise an episode
of The X-Files live on stage. People who watch the
show, and those that don't, can shout things out and I make
every show completely different. It's a joy for me to do,
because I don't get completely bored out of my skull repeating
the same jokes over and over, night after night.
At the same time I get to meet some of the people.
Some comics come to these towns, they have bright lights in
their face - and have no idea who they are talking to. Then
they go back to their hotel room and never really knew they
were in London to begin with. So, I love doing my improvised
X-Files episode live now because it's a lot of fun
for me, the fans, and it means I get to meet a lot of people.
Are there any conspiracy theories that you think may be credible?
Let's see... John F. Kennedy was a suicide... I don't think
that was true? [Laughs] The whole "gun between his knees"
theory - it just doesn't seem plausible.
joy about a conspiracy is that there doesn't have to be any
evidence. That's part of the conspiracy - the fact that they
wiped out all of the evidence.
could say lemons control my mind. And you'd say: "That's
ridiculous! There's no evidence." And you could argue:
"Exactly. That's how they control your mind - by making
you believe that they are completely innocent." So, you
can put any two elements together and make it a conspiracy
some of them seem more compelling than others when evidence
starts stacking up. Like with the recent Iraq war. My conspiracy
friends have a large different body of evidence as to why
they went in, which is long and complicated and those who
are interested will already have been pointed towards websites
that go into long explanations of those reasons.
if things are printed in the paper... reporters have been
known to fabricate reports. When they say: "The truth
is out there," it may be, but because it is so subjective
even if you see it in print you don't know if it is really
true unless you experience it for yourself.
What happened to deanx.com your website?
I had to close it for legal reasons, believe it or not. It
was cited in a litigation that, for legal reasons [laughs]
I can't really talk about it. I've closed that down, but now
I'm opening deanhaglund.com.
This will have information on where I'll be appearing, funny
stories and also Dean's garage sale.
selling on eBay all my X-Files memorabilia. There's
crew gifts and funny things I kept from the show and from
conventions. I'll be selling them off when I get the time.
The first item was The Lone Gunmen promotional yo-yo.
Which actually someone here in London purchased and as I'm
over here he's going to meet me at my gig tomorrow night so
that I can hand over his signed yo-yo. It's kind of a great
way to meet the world - sell off your stuff.
you hear about that guy who sold off all his furniture and
possessions on eBay? He kept the address of everybody who
bought his stuff and now just travels around visiting his
stuff. It's something to do, I guess.
Season eight of The X-Files is being released on DVD
this month. How do you view that media? Do you embrace it?
I do embrace it. I think it's all part of the same continuum.
I know some actors who feel weighted down by the past work
that they've done, but to my mind it's all just an ongoing
forward line that only weighs you down if you feel trapped
by it. I certainly don't. It was a joy to be on the show and
it's afforded me opportunities I would never have had otherwise.
Including inventing wonderful computer accessories like the
What are you working on at the moment?
I've just been offered another movie called Nightmare Carnival
which will be shooting in the spring and will be released
around Christmas. And then I have two or three other features.
Also I've written a movie, that we are currently getting funding
for, which includes Patrick McGoohan who was in The Prisoner.
That's based on a conspiracy theory as well. It's about the
guy who discovered a cure for cancer - Royal Raymond Rife.
And if your readers do an Internet search for him they can
find out a bit more about this conspiracy.
Thank you for your time.
thanks to Nina Criswick at DSA
Eight of The X-Files is released on DVD from
20th Century Fox on the 15 March 2004
your copy on DVD for £59.99 (RRP: £79.99) by clicking